July 29, 2021
Through Sept. 18. Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moisant Weyl, 535 West 24th Street, third floor, Manhattan, (212) 249-3324, [email protected].
29 JULY 2021, NEW YORK- “Someone — surely an artist — once said that the best criticism of a work of art is another work of art. If so, the excellent exhibition of prints here that Julie Mehretu made at the Gemini G.E.L. workshop from 2008 to 2018 is usefully critical of the paintings that dominate her current midcareer survey at the Whitney Museum.
Mehretu has never stood still as an artist, but the prints she began making in 2008 have been consistently stronger than her paintings in every way: touch, spatial illusion, color and especially scale. They exude a kind of lushness, avoiding the brittle impersonality and formal melodrama often found in her paintings. These last two qualities were mostly banished in the black-on-grey paintings seen at Marian Goodman in 2016, but they have resurfaced in her latest canvases.
The prints, meanwhile, have mostly gone from strength to strength. The earliest works in the show are three small dry point etchings from 2008, 2010 and 2012 remarkable for their variety of delicate marks and their brinkmanship between abstraction and representation. (They conjure the exploded landscapes in Otto Dix’s “War” etchings of 1924.) The show’s high points are “Six Bardos,” a suite of large aquatints from 2018 inspired by the six intervals between life and death in Buddhism. They suavely combine graffiti, calligraphy and fragments of images into effortless tangles of lines that sometimes glow from within. Five are beautifully colored, the sixth and final one, “Last Breath,” is a dense, all-black tangle that nonetheless levitates. That title aside, the “Bardo” prints have a pulse that too many of the paintings at the Whitney lack.”
Written by ROBERTA SMITH for the New York Times
March 25, 2021 – July 30, 2021
JULIE MEHRETU: A Decade of Printmaking at Gemini G.E.L.
Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moisant Weyl
535 West 24th St, Third Floor, New York, NY 10011